North Carolina biologist Gabrielle Graeter makes field notes
Southern Appalachian bogs are one of the rarest natural communities in North America and are home to five federally-threatened or endangered plants and animals.
In an effort to protect these rare places, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed creating Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge could eventually be comprised of up to 23,000 acres scattered across 30 sites in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
Cindy Dohner, southeast regional director, recently toured a southern Appalachian bog site for the first time. She was accompanied by Assistant Regional Director Leo Miranda; Chief of the Southeast Region’s National Wildlife Refuge System, David Viker; and Program Supervisor Michelle Eversen. The area they visited, a privately-owned site in northwestern North Carolina, also has grassy balds – another rare Southern Appalachian habitat, as well as streams with southern Appalachian brook trout.
Also participating in the site visit were Fred Annand and Megan Sutton of The Nature Conservancy; Alan Weakley of the UNC herbarium; Curtis Smalling of Audubon; Chris Kelly and Gabrielle Graeter with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; and Brian Cole, Sue Cameron, and Gary Peeples with the Service’s Asheville Field Office.
Credit: Gary Peeples/USFWS